Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Inaugural Gaming Post

When I say "gaming", I'm mostly referring to pencil and paper RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons, but it could also refer to board games or occasionally video games. Part of my reason for starting this blog was to write more about gaming. The catch is knowing when to post. Writing specifically about your campaign or character may be useful for writer, but it doesn't always hold the interest of the reader. Part of my reason for writing is to share something interesting or useful with said reader. From time to time, I'll be posting about the games I'm playing, and maybe posting a product review occasionally.  If these posts are in anyway successful, eventually I'd like to do a spin off blog dedicated completely to gaming, but that is down the line. If you're at all interested in these types of posts, I highly recommend you check out the RPG Bloggers Network, which compiles dozens of blogs on this very topic. It's a great resource.

A Little Background
I first got interested in RPGs back in the 80s when they were everywhere. Religious groups were concerned that they were tools of the devil. There was a cartoon on Saturday mornings. A friend of mine got the game Dungeon for Xmas one year and we were hooked. We knew it had something to do with D&D (simplified board game version, published by the same company). Eventually, I used some birthday money to get my first D&D books. Like a lot of folks my age, I started out with standard "red box" D&D. Since there was no dedicated gaming store in Butler (at least that we knew about at the time), we'd hit  the Walden Books at the mall to get our gear, mostly. I played a little AD&D at the time, too. As I got a little older, we started playing some of the Palladium games like Palladium Fantasy, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (based on the comic, not the TV show), and Rifts. We never really got any long term campaigns off the ground though, which was unfortunate. Eventually that stuff got put aside. I still loosely followed the industry, occasionally bought a product, and was interested in playing, but we could never get the game together. Through the magic of the not-Roboto board, some of us eventually got a game together. We spent about two years or so, running around the the Greyhawk setting, using the D&D 3.5 rule-set, and it was great fun.

After the Greyhawk game wrapped, the DM started up a game set in Ravenloft. I've taken up the reigns for a 4e game and a Dark Heresy Game. I joined a game set in the Forgotten Realms, run by another player from the game. I'm also playing in a Call of Cthulhu game, run by yet another person from that Greyhawk game. Then there was a couple other false starts, two Gygax tribute games, and a couple shorter campaigns. Yeah..."no gaming" to "way too much gaming" in just a couple years. Here's a quick overview of the games I'm currently playing.

Ravenloft is a classic Gothic horror setting for D&D. The game we're playing currently is run by Mark, who was the mastermind behind the Greyhawk game. It is certainly the most ambitious effort I've been involved with in an RPG. The DM is essentially running two games concurrently. The party my character is a member of is made up of evil and neutral characters. The other team is made up of neutral and good characters. Mostly the teams work separately, but the most recent game brought both teams together (about 14 players) which is pretty crazy, using the 3.5 rule-set. The DM has plans for players to switch teams, and sub-groups to form from members of both teams, depending on certain situations. I'm playing a tiefling beguiler (from PHB 2), named Vandyrk, who stumbled through the mists while exploring a dungeon in the Faerun.

3.5 Forgotten Realms
My buddy Tim, who was also a part of the Greyhawk game and plays in the good party in the Ravenloft game, started another 3.5 game that I decided to join. He's planning on it being a fairly short campaign. So far we've been mostly traveling around the Chult Peninsula, trying to sort out some kind of dinosaur cult. Most recently, he dumped us in a giant maze and we're working our way out now. I'm playing a human rogue/fighter with a spiked chain named Ras Sulamal. He's pretty burly. More of a thug than your typical agile rogue.

Call of Cthulhu
Allen, another an alumni of the the Greyhawk game and a co-party member of the Ravenloft campaign, had some experience playing Call of Cthulhu, before moving to Pittsburgh a few years ago. We wanted to get a game going here, and since he had the most experience with the system, we encouraged him to act as Keeper (CoC terminology for GM/DM). We're working our way through the classic world jumping adventure, Masks of Nyarlathotep. I'm playing two characters, a professor of anthropology and archaeology and a professional wrestler.

4e Forgotten Realms
This is one of the two games I'm running. Outside of a couple one-offs, this is the first time I've acted as DM since the late 80s and I'm having a ton of fun. We started shortly after 4th Edition was released and have been playing for a few hours every two weeks, on average. The players just hit 8th level and the individual stories are starting to break out. They are on their way to Waterdeep right now, to follow up on some information they've received from an oracle. Plans to send them deep into the Underdark and the Elemental Chaos are on the table.

Dark Heresy
Dark Heresy is the other game I'm running. In the game, players take the role of acolytes of the Imperium, essentially fascist space cops tracking down heretics, aliens, and demons in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. Fun! I got my first taste of Dark Heresy earlier this year at the Geekadrome in Brookline. Our GM was intimately familiar with the 40k universe and ran a pretty cool campaign. I'm not too familiar with the universe and I'm going to be relying heavily on published materials. We've gotten two games in and I've already killed one of the PCs. Oops! Well, they said it's a deadly game, so we'll see how it goes at the next session.

Other Stuff 
There are a couple other games that I'm really interested in playing, but don't have the time right now. As soon as one of these games wraps, I'd like to try Rogue Trader, Savage Worlds (I picked up the Rippers Source book, too), Mutants & Masterminds, Dragon Age RPG or All Flesh Must Be Eaten. Both the 3.5 Forgotten Realms game and the Ravenloft game are supposed to be relatively short campaigns, and Mark has already expressed interest in running  a superheroes game. I loaned him my copy of Mutants & Masterminds and I'm keeping my fingers crossed he picks it for the system. Chris, from the Ravenloft good party has volunteered to run a Dragon Age game at some point in the future, too. I have no long term plans for the Dark Heresy game, so maybe after a few more months, I might recommend the same group try out some other system.

Well, I don't really have any conclusions to speak of. We'll see where this goes. Right now, I need to start planning out some possibilities for the 4e game, get my secondary character rolled up for Ravenloft, and reread the adventure path for the next leg of Dark Heresy, so there's plenty of my plate. Look for more posts related directly to the games I'm playing in the coming weeks, as well as some product reviews if I pick up anything totally cool.

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